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- Student Stories
It is possible to study Psychology at Oxford in two ways: as a subject on its own, Experimental Psychology (EP) or with Philosophy and/or Linguistics (PPL).
For courses including Psychology, it is highly recommended for candidates to have studied at least one science or mathematics subject to A-level, Advanced Higher, or Higher Level in the IB or any other equivalent. Other than that, Psychology students come from backgrounds in both the arts and the sciences.
Offers of places are based on A*AA at A-Level or an equivalent qualification. For courses including Linguistics, it is helpful for candidates to have studied English Language, Mathematics, a science or another language.
The selection process involves interviews at Pembroke college and a second college for shortlisted candidates. The Psychology interview provides an opportunity to talk about the subject. Candidates are not expected to demonstrate a detailed knowledge of Psychology. As in most colleges, however, they are likely to be asked to think about the experimental problems that are often encountered in psychology and other disciplines.
Experimental Psychology at Pembroke is led by Dr Hannah Smithson whose research focuses on the neural mechanisms that underlie perception. Using psychophyiscal experiments to objectively measure human visual performance under different conditions, her aim is to test different models of the retinal and cortical processing on which vision is based. In addition to fundamental research on normal adult perception, she seeks to explore potential applications of her findings - for example, in developing new display technologies and in understanding the limitations of vision in disease.
Abi Finch describes the opportunity she had to research how the eye perceives colour as part of her undergraduate degree course
Andrew Humphrey, undergraduate, talks about the advanced options he chose in his third year - describing work on inattention, and mathematical understanding and disability
Experimental Psychology and PPL undergraduates will spend the first two terms completing an introductory course in three subjects. For those reading Experimental Psychology the three subjects are usually Psychology, Statistics and Neurophysiology. Those reading PPL will usually choose three courses from Psychology, Philosophy, Linguistics, Neurophysiology and Statistics. Because of the degree of overlap between PPL and EP in the first year course, it is usually easy to transfer between EP and PPL at this stage.
For further details about the courses and options in the final two years, please visit the Departmental website.